Millions of people suffer from debilitating symptoms caused by arthritis. Like many other chronic ailments in human beings, the first line of defense is to seek out pain medications or steroids to relieve symptoms, even though the side effects can be significant.
There are more than one hundred different conditions considered as forms of arthritis that present with different symptoms and root causes, but the most common ailments include rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.
There is also a specific form of osteoarthritis that directly affects the upper cervical spine, something called cervical spondylosis. Our spinal columns age as rapidly as we do, and in older patients or for those who have had a significant neck injury, this aging process contributes to an increase in degenerative wear on the spine.
The bones and cartilage between the cervical vertebrae are compromised by the degeneration, which puts pressure on spinal nerves and narrows the neural and arterial pathways in the upper cervical spine. Accessory complications can include chronic neck pain and stiffness, headaches, incontinence, fatigue, sleep apnea, and loss of mobility. In extreme cases, correcting the effects of this degeneration and vertebral instability requires surgery.
Doctors continue to research the root causes of arthritis to discover strategies for lessening its effect on patients. Recent studies have focused on a signal molecule called Tenascin-C that seems to trigger the immune system to respond with inflammation in patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
This research is in line with traditional chiropractic theories, which suggest that misalignment of the neck and upper cervical vertebrae can contribute to such immune system deficiencies. The reasons why the body responds to neurological imbalance by inducing inflammation in its own joints and ligaments is one of the most important points that doctors of chiropractic are trying to understand.
Other than the general guidelines for better health that include a healthy diet, rest, and regular exercise, conventional medicine has, to date, been able to offer no known cure for arthritis.
Proper screening from a qualified upper cervical care specialist is one way to determine whether the effects of your arthritis can be minimized with non-invasive procedures. As an alternative to costly therapeutic procedures, a simple upper cervical exam may offer hope in treating the root causes of inflammation that aggravate pain receptors in the hips, lower back, neck, and joints in the hands and feet.
Like many other conditions we’ve discussed on this site, the application of upper cervical specific care is having encouraging results in patients who have seen a significant reduction in episodic pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. By focusing on the critical connections between the axis and atlas vertebra, the occipital bone, and the nervous system, doctors are seeing a dramatic reversal of fortune for patients who have benefited from the procedure.
The Specific Chiropractic Center will be hosting a special workshop this month to discuss arthritis, how it influences our bodies and our health, and what steps to take to find relief and support for symptoms. Please call our offices to register for this in-depth analysis that could be your key to freedom from the pain and discomfort caused by arthritic conditions.
For more information, please call 1-888-722-4467.
Elster, E., D.C. Rheumatoid arthritis. 2007. Erin Elster.com. Retrieved September 3, 2009 from http://www.erinelster.com/ConditionsDetail.aspx?ConditionID=21
Hitti, M. Rheumatoid arthritis: new treatment target? June 30, 2009. MedicineNet.com. Retrieved September 3, 2009 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=101595
Wei, N. Types of arthritis. 2004. Arthritis Treatment and Relief.com. Retrieved September 3, 2009 from http://www.arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com/types-of-arthritis.html